A Good Samaritan will not be personally liable in negligence for any act done in an emergency.
Legislation has recently been introduced to protect “Good Samaritans”. A “Good Samaritan” means a person, who, without expectation of payment or other reward provides assistance, advice or care to another person in an emergency but does not include a person who does so as a volunteer. A “volunteer” is essentially a person who does voluntary work on behalf of a voluntary organisation. It is now provided that a Good Samaritan will not be personally liable in negligence for any act done in an emergency when providing assistance, advice or care to a person who is in serious and imminent danger of being injured or further injured or who has been injured or appears to be suffering from an illness. The protection also extends to advice given by telephone to a person at the scene of an emergency. The protection and liability can arise even where the “Good Samaritan” is the person who created the emergency. The new legislation also provides a personal protection from liability for volunteers for any act done when carrying out voluntary work. The protection does not extend to those who act outside the scope of the work authorised by a volunteer organisation or contrary to the instructions of the volunteer organisation concerned.
The new protections do not apply where negligence arises as a result of the use of mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place. Neither does the protection apply where there has been bad faith or gross negligence (recklessness).
By Colm O’Rourke
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